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Interview

A conversation with Mike Pitt, Partner and Head of Infrastructure Delivery, Oceania

Mike Pitt is an HKA Partner and leads the Infrastructure Delivery team. We sat down to talk about his career and what drives him as a leader of teams and major projects.

What is your role at HKA?

In my client-facing role, I’m the contract and relationship manager for some of HKA’s largest delivery contracts. I’m responsible for ensuring that delivery solutions employed across all engagements utilise proven project management philosophies while remaining responsive to each unique situation. In addition, I sit on Supervisory boards, Senior Leadership Groups, and Gateway and Assurance Review Panels.

I’m also responsible for creating the team dynamic and delivery culture, supporting individuals in their client-side and personal development pursuits.

What is your academic and business background?

I’ve always been interested in why people do what they do – how they choose where to live or why they decide to move to another country – so I did a human and physical geography degree. This fueled my interest in precinct activation and placemaking.

After a few years at a business improvement agency doing project management for pharmaceutical and automotive companies, I followed my passion for construction and took a role with Network Rail. While there, I completed a Masters in Project and Enterprise management. I’m also an Australian Institute of Project Management Certified Practicing Project Director and an alumni member of the Commonwealth Leader’s Conference.

In 2015, I joined as a Senior Consultant in the Delivery team. The opportunity to work on one of Australia’s biggest rail projects at the time, and the people around me, accelerated my career in transport delivery in Australia.

What sparked your interest in infrastructure?

Infrastructure development was booming in the UK, and the strong link between project management and construction made infrastructure a natural fit. It felt like the majority of activity in the UK’s construction sector was renewal and upgrade projects so Australia’s plan to use infrastructure to facilitate growth is the reverse of what I was used to.The tidal wave of investment in infrastructure projects and the scope of expansion and growth being delivered in a sustainable way was exciting.

Australia’s outdoor lifestyle, the weather and the different economy was also very appealing

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about construction and people. I enjoy transitioning theory into reality, where a design becomes a train station or a road and then connecting the right people in the right places. This involves stakeholder engagement and negotiating the best result for all parties’ collective benefit.

Diversity is crucial in all industries, and transport infrastructure needs to improve in this area. I’m always looking to add to my team’s diversity and the construction environment, acknowledging HKA’s ED&I approach/policy and internally equitable peer groups. Since coming to Australia, I’ve become involved with Aboriginal participation in the construction industry, which has become an important part of what I do.

What do you love about what you do?

I love seeing something being built from the ground up and creating something that future generations can use and I can be proud to look back on. I also like being able to support the facilitation of people, place and migration.

My role also provides exposure to different people with varied experiences and backgrounds, and I like creating a cohesive team that comes together to bring a client’s vision to life.

What attracted you to HKA?

HKA works on some of Australia’s largest and most complex infrastructure projects. Expanding cities and huge government investment in infrastructure, plus the new challenges that brings, made HKA a very attractive proposition for me as a professional in the project management space.

Working in parallel with HKA’s construction experts and using CRUX data, we can set projects up to avoid the potential post-delivery issues that can have impacts down the line.

How do you manage multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams to obtain optimum project outcomes?

The Delivery team is made up of Project Managers, Development Managers, Health & Safety reps, Environmental reps, Program Managers, Design Managers, Compliance Managers, and Quality and Assurance Managers. They are responsible for integration and delivery management, so they’re on the ground working directly with client teams.

I’ve created an environment that challenges employees and provides them with access to tools and experienced individuals as mentors. As a result, we are a close-knit team that pulls in one direction despite numerous functional, cultural, and discipline differences.

Getting the best from a team also means ensuring a balance between work and life. I strongly support and promote this as it’s particularly relevant within the Delivery stream, given the high utilisation in a demanding client environment, often over an extended period.

How is your team helping to drive change in the infrastructure industry?

The strategy for our services in Delivery is born from principles of core project management, focusing on converting the design into construction. Our role is to implement robust systems, processes and procedures for the company or client we represent, alongside ensuring compliance.

Traditionally, contractors and clients can have different objectives, so we’re the conduit to facilitate conversations that resolve challenges and bring about a positive outcome. We’re establishing bespoke governance frameworks that are informed by industry-leading thought. We also use global lessons from collective partnerships and knowledge from our QED+ colleagues and transfer those lessons to project management efficiency, contact administration, and stakeholder management.

Like most of us, you have other roles beyond your role at HKA; tell me more about them.

I have a young son, so my wife and I head to the beach or do outdoor activities with him whenever we get the chance. You don’t get to do that as much in the UK!

If you want to find out more about joining HKA, contact lizkane@hka.com to arrange a confidential discussion or visit www.careers.hka.com

Liz Kane, RECRUITMENT MANAGER

This publication presents the views, thoughts or opinions of the author and not necessarily those of HKA. Whilst we take every care to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time of publication, the content is not intended to deal with all aspects of the subject referred to, should not be relied upon and does not constitute advice of any kind. This publication is protected by copyright © 2022 HKA Global Ltd.

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